by Mustafa Howard
Abu Hurayrah narrated that Rasulullah S.A.W. said : “A believer is the mirror of his brother. When he sees a fault in it, he should correct it.”
Someone is giving another happy and encouraging talk in the masjid. It will be posted live on Facebook and archived on YouTube.
Across town, there is a happy and encouraging gathering in which Muslim celebrities have been paid to travel and share their smiles with the community members who can afford the tickets, or have the interest.
All is rosy. Except it isn’t.
Taking DFW as an example, here are some real facts:
- the community loses 90% of Islam’s Converts
- 70% of Converts are either unmarried or in miserable marriages they want to get out of
- There are a couple thousand homeless Muslims within a few miles of every masjid
- 90% of Muslims have no interest in the masajid
- Muslims are suffering spousal abuse
- Muslims are suffering drug/alcohol problems and other mental-health issues
- Children are using drugs and engaging in sexual activity
- Muslims are committing suicide
This is a stark contrast to the smiling faces and joyous attitudes wherever Muslims gather. It’s called “living in a bubble”, and Muslims are in such a bubble, they are unaware of their own community !
Rasulullah S.A.W. said: “the wise is the one that assesses and accounts for the self”
This applies to individuals, masajid, and communities. All organizations that actually intend to be successful have methods of self-assessment. Yet, our masajid and our community as a whole is lacking such an institution.
Islam has never been based on guesswork. Fiqh in its entirety is a collection of methodologies for determining the value of real evidence. A scholar is prohibited from engaging in guesswork whenever evidence is available.
The Language and Concepts of Fiqh
- ‘ilm (knowledge) is distinguished from assuming or doubting
- Knowledge is divided into a) self-evident knowledge and b) inferred/acquired knowledge
- jahl (ignorance) is divided into a) lacking knowledge and b) perceiving something contrary to its reality
- nadhr (contemplating, examining) to see the attributes of evidence
- istidlal is seeking evidence
- daleel is a piece of evidence
- dhann is attributing probability to one piece of evidence over another
- shakk is experiencing doubt
Categories of commands and actions (5 according to Shafi’)
- fard – obligatory
- mandub – or Mustahhab, meaning preferred
- mubah – meaning allowed, permitted, not disallowed
- makruh – disliked
- haram – prohibited
When do Solutions and Institutions become Obligatory on the Community
Fiqh mandates that conditions of people and communities must be examined for their well-being. Whenever there is mafsadah (impropriety or poor conditions), it is either recommended or obligatory to make maslaha (correction of the conditions).
If the conditions are actually causing damage/destruction in something essential/indispensible, it becomes Fard (Obligatory) to make the correction. Whenever such destructive conditions exist in repeated cases throughout the community, it becomes a Communal Obligation (Fard al-kifaya) to institute the solution.
How to make our community self-aware
Like an individual who makes an assessment of his/her circumstances, or an organization that spends time to complete internal assessments, the community must do the same. This requires establishing a community institution to conduct studies and examination of:
- the lives of Muslims and the conditions of various demographics (for example, it is known that Converts are suffering much destruction)
- the success/failure rate of the masajid in various aspects
- the success/failure rate of the community meeting the list of Fara’id al-Kifaya (communal obligations) of our time and circumstance
I have a project for this and have written more on it here: